Oakland News Now – The Oakland Raiders trade of Khalil Mack to the Chicago Bears and for two 2019 NFL Draft 1st round picks, should come as no surprise considering the Silver and Black couldn’t afford him. The Raiders, working under the self-levied fiscal gut punch of the expense of relocating to Las Vegas and of signing Derek Carr and Head Coach Jon Gruden to a guaranteed contract worth $100 million, may have budgeted to give Khalil Mack an offer, but had no intention of getting him a block-buster deal.
The Raiders sent that signal with the “Moneyball” NFL Draft strategy they used for the 2018 NFL Draft. Look at Maurice Hurst and Arden Key and Kolton Miller, to name a few: two giant talent players that were sure-fire first rounders in Hurst and Key, but health and off the field concerns had them drop in the Draft, and into the waiting arms of the cheapo Raiders. Miller? He was the target of the Raiders after they traded not up but down to get him. Why? To save money – and because they didn’t have the cash to have a normal NFL Draft.
The Las Vegas Stadium expense is such that, by my estimate, the Raiders are look at least a $500 million deficit in stadium net operating income, unless they can secure a naming rights agreement at least that large, or if not, then at $400 million. Moreover, the Raiders need to secure $1 billion in sponsorships overall, and because of the need to pay back the Bank of America line-of-credit, and pay for the cost to run the stadium on an annual basis. The Raiders have to prove they can match or go beyond the Atlanta Falcons $1 billion in sponsorships for Mercedes Benz Stadium – something the organization has not done.
The Raiders are in trouble. In addition to those expenses, the team was looking at a really high rent at the Coliseum, and no other place to go that they could afford to play at before Las Vegas. The Oakland Alameda County Coliseum Board and Executive Director did the Raiders a favor by reducing the level of rent to pay in exchange for high-dollar donations to Oakland non-profits. That is why the Raiders stepped forward to help the Oakland Public Schools maintain their sports program. No, the School District didn’t know that; they were like the proverbial hiker on the side of the road desperate for a ride out of the desert – the Raiders happened to drive by.
But I digress. From all sides, the Raiders are looking at spending and revenue requirements they can’t meet as of now. Much of the problem is not just of their own decisions, but deal making – or lack of. Want an example of what I mean? Look at how Dallas Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones got a $30 million sponsorship deal with Pepsi and Nike in 1995 – that was to pay for getting the services of Deion Sanders. Why couldn’t the Raiders make some kind of deal like that with Apple or some Bay Area tech company? That’s a question that has to be asked – even if the Raiders don’t answer it.
The Raiders need money. The thing is, losing Khalil Mack will cost them more money in lost merchandise revenue. The only way around that problem is to win, and at this point, the Oakland Raiders better run the table. If they can. Many are betting they can’t – and will have a losing season.
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Zennie Abraham is the CEO of Zennie62Media